It is well known that a negotiating mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Jamaica between September 24 and October 5 this year and, as the Fund indicated then; significant progress was made in those discussions. Mutual understandings were established relating to a growth agenda, structural reforms and a preliminary timetable for implementing structural benchmarks to monitor progress. Still there remain some technical issues to be resolved.

I also had the opportunity to have further discussions while in Tokyo, recently with senior members of the Fund Management regarding the Programme being negotiated with the Fund. In view of the fact that I have not had an opportunity to report to the Parliament directly, and in view of extensive public comments about the IMF negotiations, I am taking this opportunity to brief the House.

As I had said previously, there is no delay in the process of negotiations with the IMF, and that we are proceeding in accordance with the timetable originally set out. It is also the case that the essential outlines of the Programme to be concluded with the Fund have been settled and we are at the point of discussing the contents of a draft Letter of Intent.

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